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THE BATTLE OVER CITIZEN KANE

USA, 1995 (MIFF 1996, Documenta)

Director: Thomas Lennon, Michael Epstein

Two outsized Americans fought the battle for Citizen Kane William Randolph Hearst, 77-year-old newspaper baron, perched in a Californian castle with his concubine, Marion Davies, and Orson Welles, a 24-year-old boy wonder of the theatre, in Hollywood with a contract to make his first movie. In telling the tale of these two flawed men. The Battle Over Citizen Kane also sheds new light onthe masterpiece over which they fought. The fiction fuses them both into the enduring film character, Charles Foster Kane For Cannon and Epstein's brilliant film is not just about Kane, it becomes a twin-engined biography exploring the parallels between these two lives. Returning Kane to its original 1941 context turns out to be a revelation and also confuses the now legendary arguments over authorship of the script, as established by Pauline Kael. How did American audiences respond to the film in 1941? Certainly not (only) as the great work of art it has since been canonised as And how was it that the film received just one Oscar at the 1942 awards? These are just two of the mysteries revealed in the Battle Over Citizen Kane (TB)

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